I think it is fair to say straight off that Sister Act is probably the best musical I have seen at the New Theatre. It has just the right mix of music, comedy, fun and spectacle combined with some outstanding vocal performances - a near perfect night out.
For fans of the original film, it is worth noting that none of the songs feature in the stage versions. However for me, that is not a problem. What you get is a great score written by Alan Menken - one of the greatest musical theatre composers of his (or possibly any) generation. The action has been moved to the 1970s and consequently we are treated to a range of numbers that perfectly evoke the era of disco and soul classics.
This adaptation has been many years in the making and the tour is the latest version of the script to be put before the paying public. For me it is a tightly constructed piece that keeps moving neatly between the various settings and events. I know that some of those who saw the London version preferred that incarnation but I can only judge things as I see them and for me it works.
The highlight of the evening has to be the wonderful performance of Cynthia Erivo as Dolores (the role made famous by Whoopi Goldberg). She has an outstanding presence and a voice that was born to sing this sort of music. For someone at the very start of her career, she shows incredibly potential - a performer to watch. She is ably supported by Denise Black as Mother Superior. She inhabits the role completely - and her comic timing is spot on throughout.
Credit must also go to the ensemble of nuns. They each give vivid individual performances and really light up the theatre with their energy and sense of fun. A real team effort.
There was a really warm reaction from the audience on the night I was there and I am confident that the sense of fun and great music will entertain audiences in Oxford and beyond.